This is Nadal’s 3rd loss in 108 matches at the tournament. Just three loses in 108 matches.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6, 6-7(4), 2-6
Djokovic earned himself three match points by taking the score to 0-40. Rafa earned one back but then the Serb ended Rafa’s reign as a backhand went wide. He beats Nadal at Roland Garros for the second time in his career to reach his sixth French Open final.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6, 6-7(4), 2-5
A big hold for Djokovic on the back of some wonderful defence intially and then turning that defence into attack and finally ending it with a drop shot. Nadal trying hard to borrow energy from the ground but this is not looking good.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6, 6-7(4), 2-4
BREAK! Four games on the trot for Djokovic and another break. The Serb has raised his level and Nadal will be feeling desperate at this point.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6, 6-7(4), 2-3
Third game in a row for Djokovic, he is back on track but Rafa’s level seems to be dropping a little now.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6, 6-7(4), 2-2
BREAK BACK! Djokovic breaks back. We are back on serve. Don’t go away. Neither Rafa nor Djokovic are.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6, 6-7(4), 2-1
A love service hold for Djokovic. He gets on the board in the fourth set.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6, 6-7(4), 2-0
Nadal was 0-30 down but then he just clawed his way back into the game to back up the break with an important hold.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6, 6-7(4), 1-0
BREAK! Djokovic was up 30-0 but then he found trouble to hand a breakpoint to Nadal, which was then converted with a brilliant crosscourt forehand. Nadal isn’t going away... he isn’t going anywhere.
The Roland Garros authorities have decided to keep the crowd in the stadium.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (4-7)
TIEBREAK: An ace down the T gave Djokovic two set points after some spectacular tennis gave him the mini-break earlier. And then, he chased down one of the drop shots to finally win the most incredible set of tennis you could possible watch.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 (3-3)
TIEBREAK: Djokovic got the first mini break but then Rafa, as he has done all set, came right back. When the dust settled it was 3-3 at the change of ends.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6, 6-6
Nadal earned himself a set point but Djokovic came right back to get himself a game point and then the game. Mad, mad tennis on display. We will have a tiebreaker now. Phew.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6, 6-5
Nadal holds. Two boxers who don’t know when they are beat. They are slipping, scrambling, hitting winners, drop shots... the quality of tennis is getting better with every passing minute. Nadal somehow holds on, now Djokovic have to serve to stay in the set. So much riding on this set. The players have invested so much already.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6, 5-5
BREAK BACK! Djokovic was up 30-0 when he missed a forehand. It allowed Nadal to get his foot in the door and then he came right back to break. Incredible tennis by a man who never gives up. We are back on serve.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6, 4-5
A comfortable hold for Nadal and that means Djokovic will have to serve the set out.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6, 3-5
Djokovic consolidates the break. It wasn’t easy and he was down a breakpoint but he got the job done eventually. So tight. A big, big hold. The Serb is now a game away from a 2 sets to 1 lead.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6, 3-4
BREAK! Djokovic responded to the break of serve by breaking Nadal to love. Too many unforced errors by the Spaniard.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6, 3-3
BREAK BACK! Nadal struggling a bit here but only means he will fight even harder. A lucky net cord gave him two BPs. But Djokovic won a 23-shot rally to make it 40-40. Unbelievable stuff. But then Nadal hung in there and stole the break back. The crowd is in this now. They are chanting Rafa’s name. They are chanting Novak’s name. Some truly incredible tennis on display.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6, 2-3
BREAK! A missed overhead, a couple of other unforced errors gave Djokovic two breakpoints. But then Rafa came up with two clutch plays – a lovely drop shot and then, an ace – to make it deuce. However, the Serb eventually got his break as Rafa made another unforced error.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6, 2-2
Djokovic holds to love. Now, the pressure goes right back onto Rafa.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6, 2-1
Nadal holds! Djokovic oozing confidence from the back of the court and that saw him earn another break point. But a good serve helped Nadal save it and make it deuce again. And then the Spaniard came up with some lovely improvisation at the net to clinch the game. Brilliant, brilliant tennis by both players. For now, this set remains on serve.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6, 1-1
Djokovic responds with a solid hold of his own, finishing the game with his second ace of the match.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6, 1-0
Solid hold to begin the third set for Nadal. He took a break, changed his clothes and probably had a chance to rethink his tactics as well.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-6
Djokovic has not been able to put the overhead away today and it came back to haunt him early in the first set and once again, it allowed Nadal to work his way to a BP. But a wide backhand by Nadal made it 40-40. Then, once again, the Spaniard got advantage but Djokovic forced an error. Then, the Serb finally got a set point and he closed it out after a mishit from Nadal went long. A 52-minute set that produced some marvellous moments indeed. The match is now level at one set-all.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 3-5
Nadal holds easily. Djokovic will have to serve out the set.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 2-5
Once again, it looked like Nadal would break right back after being broken in the previous game. He earned two BPs after making it 15-40 but then Djokovic fought back to get a game point. An unforced error made it deuce again. A backhand crosscourt winner gave the Serb another game point and he took advantage to finally consolidate the break. A big, big hold.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 2-4
Djokovic now turning on the style. He made it 0-40 to earn three breakpoints. Nadal saved the first with a big forehand winner and then the second with lovely anticipation at the net. But Djokovic got his second break of the second set off the the third breakpoint. After being 0-5 down in the first set, Djokovic has won 7 off the next 10 games. Quite the turnaround.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 2-3
Djokovic holds without much drama to keep his nose ahead. Nadal making more UEs now but Djokovic is doing his bit too.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 2-2
Nadal holds. Every game now producing really high quality tennis. All square now. Djokovic will have to stay in it.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 1-2
BREAK BACK! Nadal gets it back on serve by breaking straight back. Quickly pushed the reset button and before Djokovic could open a gap he was broken.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 0-2
BREAK! Djokovic worked his way to 0-40 and three breakpoints. He needed just two to get his first break of the match. The depth of his groundstrokes is forcing mistakes out of Nadal. Here we go.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3, 0-1
Nadal making a few more unforced errors and Djokovic getting an easy hold. Important for him to get on the board early in this set. The Serb certainly seems to have a better rhythm now.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 6-3
Nadal worked his way to 40-0 before Djokovic took the next two points on the back of some brilliant defence. Then, another error from Nadal made it 40-40. But the Spaniard persisted and finally took the first set in 59 minutes. A manic set of high-quality tennis. Djokovic may have lost the set but some of the belief would have come back. The second set promises to be even better.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 5-3
Three games in a row for Djokovic. He was down a set point but came up with some spectacular tennis to hold. The pressure is now back on Nadal. The set seemed like it was in the bag at 5-0 but great fightback by the Serb.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 5-2
BREAK! And then against the run of play, Djokovic worked his way to two breakpoints. Nadal saved the first with a forehand that went behind the Serb and then Djokovic sent a forehand long. Both players weren’t done though. The game went to deuce a few more times. Nadal had a couple of set points before Djokovic got another breakpoint opportunity (his fifth of the set). A double fault finally gave the world no 1 the break. Nadal is still a break up.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 5-1
Unlike last year’s final, Djokovic avoids the bagel. It might still be a breadstick though. But this will make the Serb feel a little better no doubt.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 5-0
Nadal just rolls on. Djokovic would like nothing more than to get on the scoreboard but right now, it feels like he should just try and forget this set. Solid hold for the Spaniard. Can Djokovic avoid the bagel?
Nadal vs Djokovic: 4-0
Djokovic started the match so well but he now looks deflated. The Serb simply looks short of ideas and belief. Nadal is up a double break.
Nadal vs Djokovic: 3-0
A love-hold for Nadal. The momentum is firmly with him in the early going. Can Djokovic respond?
Nadal vs Djokovic: 2-0
BREAK! Djokovic made it 40-15 and it looked like he would hold easily but then Nadal fought back to make it deuce. And then the Spaniard somehow conjured up a break. Superb intensity by Nadal... he is scrambling, defending, hitting winner. Djokovic had his opportunities to win this game but...
Nadal vs Djokovic: 1-0
A nine-minute first game!! The action is already of a very high level. A Nadal backhand into the net gave Djokovic a breakpoint but the Spaniard responded with an ace to make it deuce. A superb down-the-line forehand gave Djokovic his second BP but Nadal came up with another unreturnable serve. Then, a well-disguised crosscourt forehand gave Nadal a game point but a double fault made it deuce. Superb defence by Nadal combined with an overhead smash error gave the Spaniard another game point and this time he made it work for him.
Nadal to start the match. The Spaniard will serve, Djokovic to receive.
The players are on court now. They’ll have a short warm-up before Djokovic tries to break Nadal’s incredible winning streak at the French Open.
Nadal vs Djokovic by the numbers
Djokovic leads 29-28
Nadal leads 19-7
At French Open
Nadal leads 7-1
At all Grand Slams
Nadal leads 10-6
First semi-final: Stefanos Tsitsipas became the first Greek player to reach a Grand Slam final when he defeated Germany’s Alexander Zverev in a bruising five-setter. The fifth-seeded Tsitsipas won 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 and will face either 13-time champion Rafael Nadal or world number one Novak Djokovic in the championship match.
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal clash for the 58th time in their “historic rivalry” on the same court where they first met 15 years ago with a place in the French Open final at stake.
It is tennis’s greatest modern match-up between two men who have harvested 38 Grand Slam titles and 72 Masters between them.
Djokovic has spent more weeks at world number one than any other player while 13-time French Open winner Nadal has not been out of the top 10 in 16 years.
Nadal will start the semi-final as favourite, buoyed by his record of 105 wins and just two losses in his Roland Garros career.
The 35-year-old also has the edge over Djokovic on clay with a 19-7 career lead and 7-1 in Paris.
Djokovic hasn’t beaten Nadal on the surface since Rome in 2016.